I ran across this site today via Digg – Find your local Recycling station! I checked our area and the data is rather mediocre at best. It has the commercial sites but none of the county wide sites that are maintained. Barb works with our county recycling authority, so I’ve had a pretty good chance to get acquainted with the business. Hopefully their data is a little more robust in more urban areas. It’s a great idea that I hope grows and grows!
University College London’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis has done a lot of great work in understanding spatial behavior, and one of their current projects, CAPABLE (Children’s Activities, Perception and Behaviour in the Local Environment) focuses on children’s activities patterns across space and time, looking at things like patterns of travel between home and school and other daily movement. One of the issues the researchers are hoping to understand is the possible relationship between patterns of travel and obesity in children.
There are 3 example animations of children’s GPS tracks, walking a dog, walking home from school, and playing football, which are mapped onto a Google Maps interface and also show the changing levels of activity throughout each track. Geospatial technologies and data have reached a scale where we can look at issues at the true local level, and I think we are only at the beginning of the curve in terms of fine scale analysis.
The Federal Election Commission has released its own series of interactive maps on its website that shows the current status of campaign contributions for the 2008 US presidential election (although the plan is apparently to add House and Senate candidates in the near future), and breaks down the numbers by party and candidate. If you click on the circle for a given state, you can also see the breakdown by ZIP code. Interestingly, the Democrats have actually received more money in campaign contributions so far, $95.2 million to the Republicans’ $62 million. While I was browsing the site, I didn’t see an indication as to how often they will update the map, but I may have missed it.
Trulia Hindsight is an interesting mashup that shows the grow of populations in the US over time. Their intent is to document the creation of every house in the US. Using this data and Virual Earth, they have created animations that place dots on the map when houses were built in any particular area. The map features a few pre-built animations, like “Urban Decline of Detroit” and “Formation of a New City”. You can also use the search engine to find a particular area of interest and watch the houses being created over time. The data seems to be the most robust in their target areas – which is to be expected – but there are other areas which have good data. Our area does not, but the town in North Carolina where my father grew up has plenty of data back to 1880!
I am sitting here catching up on my geography news, and practicing typing on my new OQO Model 02 (more on that later), when I came across an article about “food mapping,” tracing the origins of foods such as meat, cheese, wine, produce, etc. The idea is to let you know that if you’re paying extra for food from a certain place, such as Kobe beef, you want to be sure that you’re getting what you pay for. A worldwide network of scientists involved in the TRACE Project have been recording geological and climatic information about different regions around the world, and “Using this information, they have constructed mathematical models that can predict the expected levels of natural constituents, such as isotopes and trace elements, in food products from a specific location.”
Right now, the research is being partially funded by the UK’s Food Standards Agency, but certainly would have applications throughout the world in monitoring food supply and its movements.
Ever taken a long trip across the US and stopped in a local restaurant? What do you ask for when you want some bubbly fizzy sugar water to drink? As anyone who has traveled around the country can tell you, they don’t call it the same thing everywhere. Now you can fit in like a local with the help of this handy, dandy soft drink names by county map! You don’t have to face those ugly sneers from the wait staff and other patrons as you chime for a “pop” when CLEARLY these heathen people call it a “soda”. Of course that won’t help you in those weird counties that go with “other”…. whatever the heck that might be.
(for those outside the US for which this may be unimportant, know that the cultured term is, of course, “Coke”… the rest of the country is off its rocker)
For those unaware, we’re about to hit a world-wide demographic flip – very soon we will have more people living in cities than in the country. So how did that happen? Well this interesting article from The Economist charts the trend. The survey does of good job of charting the trend throughout human history, thus making for an interesting quick read. Clearly if the trends continue, fields like Urban planning aren’t going away anytime soon…
The New York Times reported yesterday that the Yangtze may be so so polluted that the damage is irreversible. It’s understandable that a country wishing to quickly grow its economy might be lax on environmental issues. However, it blows my mind that the Yangtze could be “irreversibly” damaged. Even if the claim is hyperbole, it certainly indicates an incredibly high level of environmental damage. Hopefully China can find some what to repair the river that accounts for 35% of its fresh water supplies.
The BBC reports on an article from the Journal of Archaeological Science about research on the clay that was used to make China’s Terracotta army. They have recovered pollen from the clay and hope to find its source. An interesting part is that different statues may have come from different source materials, or maybe different times of years, based on different pollen content.
Score one for old maps. An Australian author named Peter Trickett has discovered a map that pretty well proves Australia was discovered around 1520, which is way before James Cook stumbled upon the place. This was the most interesting quote, I thought: “It was even so accurate that I found I could draw in the modern airport runways, to scale in the right place, without any problem at all,”